A shocking story – a warning to us all…

Last week I was contacted by a client, who was in a bit of a panic. She had a laser hair removal client who had reported ‘burns’. She claimed that her skin had been burned in previous treatments, and had been burned again in the most recent treatment – yet she had returned for more sessions!

She had skin tone 5 and had been warned about possible pigmentary changes. Her first two treatments had proved successful, with no lasting adverse effects.

However, she was now saying that she had been burned ‘badly’ and wanted “a full refund and compensation”. She sent photos which did appear to show some burn-damaged areas. So, my client contacted me asking for advice.

Just before calling me (on Thursday), an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) from the local council had appeared at her clinic, unannounced. The client had contacted him and complained. It appears that EHOs are perfectly within their legal rights to do this. He demanded to see the laser equipment, the laser operator and various other parts of her clinic.

He left and sent an email saying that he would return on Tuesday, with a long list of ‘demands’. This included ‘inspecting’ all her other equipment, protocols, certification etc – all perfectly within his jurisdiction!

Naturally, she was alarmed and had an uncomfortable weekend thinking about this. She felt ‘threatened’ by the EHO’s email, and feared for her business, which she had spent years building. However, she was sure that she, and her colleagues, had done nothing wrong.

On the morning of the EHO’s visit she spotted something strange. A closer inspection of the photos that she had received showed that the treatment area appeared to be underarms.

They didn’t treat this client’s underarms – that had treated her bikini area!

The photos were close-ups, so it wasn’t initially obvious!!!! The client’s face was not visible. In fact, now, they weren’t even sure it was the same person!

She called me with this news and I told her that this lady was trying to defraud her – especially as she had demanded money. I also told her to inform the EHO as soon as he arrived – he, and his department, were also being defrauded and deceived.

Fortunately, the EHO immediately agreed on seeing the photos. He was very happy with my client’s clinic and her procedures. He commented that the complainer “had no leg to stand on” and that he was going to report his findings to Healthcare Improvement Scotland (the local regulators).

Of course, my client went through a few days of intense worry and distress. I have advised her to take her client to task and sue her for fraud and deception. I hope she does!

Let this be a warning to us all! There are people like this out there. They see the beauty/aesthetics industry as a ‘soft touch’ – easy to make money from.

So, please be very careful when dealing with any complaints. My advice is always demand recent photographs, with the client’s face in them too – and dates.

The scammers know how to do this and ruin perfectly good businesses. Don’t let them ruin yours!!


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